When one loses a loved one, friends and family are always quick to send their condolence messages through calls, sms and social media. I used to be a fan of doing the same until recently when I lost my mom and I realized those messages and calls do more harm than good to the bereaved.
February 25th, 2016 marked as one of the darkest days of my life. I received a text message from one of my sister’s that mom was very sick. I brushed it off and told myself she’ll be admitted and I will visit her the following day at the hospital just as I had been doing for the one month she had been hospitalized. Little did I know my sister was only sugar coating the truth. 30 minutes or so later my nephew knocked at the door to tell me the same news and I brushed it off with the “I’ll visit her in the morning answer” as it was past 8pm already. A few minutes later, my elder sister called “do you have the latest news on mom?” “yes I do” and I responded while laughing which shocked her and there and then the hot potato was dropped on my head…mom is no more.
I’ve been heart broken a couple of times in the past but this one crashed me into pieces. I went silent and would have loved to remain so but with my nephew staring at me I had to deliver the news to him and being not so good at sugar coating stuff I had to put it as simple as I could “grandma is no more.” Even though I spoke the words, deep down I still hoped upon hope that it was just a lie and someone would call me and tell me she’s just admitted and the doctors had thought wrong. I kept checking my sms and whatsapp for any new news but nothing was forthcoming. As the clock hit midnight I had no option but to wake up from my denial state and embrace the truth. I literally cried my eyes out and asked so many why’s and how’s without anybody to give me a proper answer. How and when I finally drifted off I don’t know just realized it was morning already and I had to get up and face the harsh reality ‘a life without a mother.’
After trying to compose myself a little bit, I realized I had to notify my clients of my unavailability because I was running around like a headless chicken and couldn’t deliver any work in my kind of state. But the worst mistake I ever made was to post it on social media; the comments that streamed in made me feel worse than I already did. It felt like dipping an already burned toe in hot oil. Every message that came in saying sorry for your loss made me more sad and teary. As a person who doesn’t like crying, this wasn’t in any way helping me cope with the death of a loved one and I had to search inside me to find other ways of healing.
Confirming that she was indeed gone was my first way of accepting reality. When the body was brought out for viewing, I had to touch the forehead and twist her hair a little bit just to be sure. As I walked in to the mortuary, I felt lost and sad but looking at her face that was so calm and peaceful even though she was in pain moments before breathing her last, I felt relieved and less sad knowing she had gladly accepted what came her way. And this helped me on my path to recovery. On 27th as I waited for her postmortem to be done, sitting outside the mortuary entrance did me a lot of good. This may sound weird but after counting so many bodies being brought in; both young and old, I realized I was not the only one mourning a loved one and even a crazy business idea crossed my mind. And by the time I was through with the postmortem report my mind was at peace and from then on I chose to look at life with a positive view and celebrate the great moments I shared with her while she walked on this planet.
It’s only a week since we laid her to rest. Though I miss her presence and frequent updates, when I talk about her I no longer tear up. And as my dad would put it, when one is mourning, don’t wear a sorry face and constantly remind them of their loss but rather, look for a way to make them feel better and help them celebrate the awesome moments they shared before s/he passed on.